Colorado's Pop-Up Tents Take Luxury Glamping to New Heights

  • 01 of 09

    This Is Camping

    Collective Retreats Vail
    ••• This is how to camp in Colorado. Collective Retreats

    So you want to go camping.

    You crave some quality time with Mother Nature. The solitude and beauty of Colorado's mountains. The sound of a crackling fire and the smell of pine trees. The spotlight of the moon with an audience of winking stars. 

    But you don't want to wake up with a stiff neck, belly ache, watery coffee and a hole in the dirt as your restroom. 

    You want to go camping — with all of the best parts and none of the uncomfortable parts. Follow a winding road deep into the mountains about 30 minutes past the town of Vail. Just when you think you've gone too far, you'll see them: a half dozen white dots speckling the hillside. 

    That's your home.

    Welcome to Collective Retreats, a new luxury camping getaway in Colorado that is so remarkable, it's hard to believe it is real — even when you're right there, living it. 

    Here is an inside peek into one of Colorado's best glamping getaways — one that you must add to your travel bucket list.

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  • 02 of 09

    Imagine Camping Here

    Collective Retreats Vail
    ••• Imagine camping in this tent. Collective Retreats

    Forget the cramped tent with wobbly tent poles. Forget sweaty sleeping bags.

    Collective Retreats calls its tents luxury "pop-up hotels," because they contain the high-end amenities that you would enjoy in a five-star resort, but they're located on an isolated mountainside where a hotel could never build. Most travelers will never have access to this private land.

    Open the front and back flaps of the tall, canvas tent and you're living in an open-air wonderland, with forever views of the Colorado mountains spread out in front of your porch. Lie in bed and watch the wildlife scamper across the meadow. Drink your French press, Colorado-made coffee from the rocking chairs on your private porch. 

    Instead of a sleeping bag on the pine needles: a king-sized bed with 800-thread-count linens, fluffy pillows and a down duvet.

    Instead of a lantern or flashlight: a chandelier and full electricity, wifi and cell service, so you can stay as plugged-in as you want to (or go airplane mode,...MORE if you wish). 

    Tents contain elegant, Western-style furniture, a wood-burning stove, Turkish cotton bathrobes, plush towels and even fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. 

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  • 03 of 09

    A Peek Inside

    Collective Retreats
    ••• A closer look at the amenities in your tent. Collective Retreats

    Pack lightly when you travel here. These tents are stocked with bottled water, healthy snacks, a cooler of ice, basic kitchen gear, books, a French press and coffee, extra blankets, other beverages — even a coat rack, full-length mirror and soft rugs on the wooden floor. The tent is made with local wood.  

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  • 04 of 09

    Camp With Dignity

    Collective Retreats
    ••• The restroom tipi at Collective Retreats. Aimee Heckel

    We all know the horrible, awful, awkward truth about having to go to the restroom in the woods. It can be especially difficult for older travelers, people with disabilities and special needs or kids. The restroom situation can often be a deal-breaker for travelers, keeping them far from the outdoors that they crave. 

    This may be one of the best features of Collective Retreats.

    Each tent is equipped with a private, nearby tipi restroom with a real toilet, sink and shower with running water. The shower and sink have warm water, towel hooks and even high-end L'occitane eco-friendly shampoo, soap and conditioner. 

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  • 05 of 09

    Start the Day Right

    Collective Retreats
    ••• Start your morning right, with breakfast in bed. Aimee Heckel

    Breakfast is included in your stay at Collective Retreats. Every morning, staff hand-delivers a basket of fresh-baked goodies to your porch (mmm, banana bread with chocolate butter), along with the day's menu.

    While sipping your French press coffee, place your order via text or phone call to the concierge. Choose to eat at the community tent, with outdoor tables on the hillside overlooking the ranch, or opt to stay in tent for breakfast in bed. Staff can even set up a table on your patio, complete with fresh flowers, orange juice, a pot of coffee and your choice of locally sourced food. Choices span an omelette to yogurt parfait to the breakfast burrito of the day. 

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  • 06 of 09

    Coffee With a View

    Collective Retreats
    ••• A cup of coffee at the community tent. Aimee Heckel

    Connect with other travelers at the community tent, while sipping a cup of Steaming Bean coffee, of in Telluride. With only six tents, each spaced far from the others, you can also maintain a private and isolated experience, too, if that's what you prefer. 

    Request a farm-to-table dinner or BBQ in a box to cook on the grill for dinner. For dessert, nightly S'mores are delivered to your tent to roast on the fire after the sun goes down. 

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  • 07 of 09

    Get Out and Get Active

    Collective Retreats
    ••• Set up a zipline tour across the canyon. Aimee Heckel

    Plan a trip that's totally lazy and laid back, or one that is full of adventure.

    Collective Retreats can arrange ziplining, fly fishing, horseback riding, Jeep tours or white-water rafting. There are plenty of hiking trails nearby, as well as ranch animals to look at. The ranch itself is often host to special events, like family bbq nights or a small, weekly rodeo.

    You can also head to Vail and get your adrenaline pumping at the Epic Discovery park in the summer.

    At the top of Vail mountain, you can go tubing, ride a roller coaster, go for free hikes with a naturalist, go ziplining and try your strength and courage on crazy ropes courses. 

    All guests at Collective Retreats also get free wine tasting at the on-site winery, Vines at Vail. This small winery boasts many awards, and the tasting counter is outside with a unique, expansive view of the mountains.

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  • 08 of 09

    Live on a Ranch

    Four Eagle Ranch
    ••• The tents are perched above 4 Eagle Ranch. Aimee Heckel

    The tents are perched on the hillside above Wolcott's 4 Eagle Ranch, a memorable destination in and of itself. The ranch is on the valley floor of the Eagle River basin surrounded by more than 1,000 acres of open space. Go shopping at the quaint Trading Post

    Residents here include a Texas long horn steer (a rescue), donkeys, alpacas, goats, chickens, ducks and more. 

    The ranch is also a popular destination for weddings. 

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  • 09 of 09

    Where in the World Is Wolcott?

    Collective Retreats
    ••• Views forever from the tent. Aimee Heckel

    The 4 Eagle Ranch and Collective Retreats tents are located in the small town of Wolcott. (Small, as in population 15.) 

    It's about 20 miles west of Vail, on 1,000 acres of open pasture with views that seem to stretch on for eternity. The proximity to Vail means easy access to nightlife, Vail's five-star restaurants and one of Colorado's most beloved mountain communities, but the isolation on the ranch provides a feeling of solitude and peace that resets the mind and spirit. Collective Retreats plans to open an Aspen location later this summer and also offers glamping in Montana.